Supplementing a New Standard on Entrepreneurship

November 17, 2021


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Recent world events have turned the volume up on what people can and will do for their health. This has inspired a new era of “self” healthcare where convenience and personalization reign supreme. With a significant trend moving towards customized healthcare, proprietors across the health and wellness board have come out of the woodwork to toss their hat into the ring.

This has not only caused a revolution in the meaning of wellness but also prompted people to seek alternatives to their daily wellness routines—one of which the most popular has been multivitamins. In fact, CRN’s annual Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, conducted on more than 2,000 U.S. supplement users and non-users, revealed that there was a 74% increase in usage of multivitamins after COVID-19 entered the picture. 

With the boundaries for businesses in healthcare ever-expanding, saturation for entrepreneurs and business leaders alike has occurred. More importantly, it has manifested a confusing market for those who seek capacities for holistic health with so much white noise in the wellness arena. Since it is National Entrepreneur Month, let’s take a closer look at how one multivitamin company was able to rise above the rest and set a real example in entrepreneurship in the fluctuating times for health and wellness that is 2021.

Foundational Choices for Entrepreneurs 

Founders of Kalavita Nutrition, Nina Zhang and Lei Qi, met in San Francisco 5 years ago. Since then, Nina has joined the startup community while Lei has become a venture capitalist—a recipe for success in today’s overcrowded realm of entrepreneurship. 

As any business person knows, building something from scratch is not easy. However, it also isn’t advisable to repeat existing formulas on the market because, in order to be successful today, one needs to be original. It is increasingly vital to set yourself apart from the competition while still meeting the call to action of why consumers pursue a particular product.

Image Courtesy of Kalavita

With so many options on store shelves, supplements can be overwhelming. By helping consumers understand the ingredients and how the formulation can help with daily activities, Kalavita makes supplements easy to understand so that individuals can look forward to consuming them every day. In order to achieve the mission of removing the confusion from nutrition, the company spent the time and efforts on the front end of building their business. Kalavita spent much more time on the pre-launch research and development stage—looking for the best ingredients, experimenting with different base blends, and digging into the reason why people reach for one supplement over another. One example of the company’s commitment to this was for Kalavita’s first product Focus Focus!, which they did 9 rounds of customer focus groups for before finalizing the formulation, base, and taste. 

No matter what your product is, or the industry you hope to pursue business in, knowing and understanding your target demographic is of the utmost importance. In an industry like health and wellness, collecting customer insights is key, and can make all of the difference in longevity for the business and success for the product in the long run.

Success Despite a Stifled Start 

Navigating a newer business during the pandemic is a feat, even if one is a seasoned pro. But as Kalavita co-founder Lei Qi says, “There is no ‘best time’ to start a business. Even in the good times, you’ll always feel it’s not ready.” 

“It’s extremely challenging for a new startup to be born right at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Lei. “But one of the most important spirits that the pandemic has grown on our team is to do what needs to be done no matter where or when.”

Kalavita started as a small team on a big mission. They believe that in order to change the nutrition industry, research power needs to be applied to the actual nutritional carriers. For decades, companies’ attention has been solely on the functional ingredients because that’s what drives people to buy. But since most Americans take supplements every day, with research revealing that 60% of people take multivitamins, more consideration needs to go into the core components of the ingredients. 

When you take a deeper look at the nutrition facts in supplements, you see tons of sugar, preservatives, and artificial coloring. That’s why Kalavita spent the resources on the carrier itself to provide a clean and functional solution to what is lacking in multivitamins. Remaining sugar-free, vegan, and functional sets them apart from their competitors.

There is a lesson here for any fresh entrepreneur. There is extreme benefit to seeing beyond the low-hanging fruit of money and pursuing business that can benefit humankind. There are fundamental things that we all feel positive about—universal principles if you will. When you find solutions that solve real peoples’ problems, maybe because you have experienced those same problems, there is intrinsic value impregnated into your enterprise. This will drive organic success because making people genuinely happy is the most valuable marketing available for any product, and is what makes all the difference in business. 

Forging a Future in Nutrition

Setting a higher standard in any industry isn’t an easy task—it does show the marksmanship of a business with integrity, however. For Kalavita, that meant providing not only functional but clean and healthy solutions in nutritional gummies to customers.

From building their own product base, to sourcing the best ingredients by truly understanding where they came from, to testing the efficacy, to reaching the best flavor—the company left no stone unturned when it comes to ensuring the authenticity of their product.

By raising the bar in the industry, any company can help evolve business for the better. As an entrepreneur, follow Kalavita’s example and stick your flag in the soil with the driving motivation of integrity. As a new business, this will help to generate a reputation of genuine trustworthiness—something money cannot buy, yet is of immeasurable value.

Disclaimer: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.


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